SCRIPTURE: Psalm 51:1-2 NIV
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 22:22-23 NIV
“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” Sing for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done this; shout aloud, O earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the LORD has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel.
Take a few moments to worship along with Paul Baloche
as he sings Hosanna (Praise is Rising).
The December 5, 2013 devotion from http://umrethinkchurch.tumblr.com
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 24:36-39, The Message
But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father knows. The Arrival of the Son of Man will take place in times like Noah’s. Before the great flood everyone was carrying on as usual, having a good time right up to the day Noah boarded the ark. They knew nothing—until the flood hit and swept everything away.
What a downer. Here we are preparing for the merriment of Christmas and we read this warning to be on our guard for Christ’s return. What is one to do? Should we stop having fun “carrying on as usual” to focus on being pious? Where are all the rules for how faithful people are supposed to live? What if Christ comes when we’re at the movies or at a party, rather than at church?
The tendency is to feel guilty. We ask ourselves, should I be doing more? Am I really acting like a follower of Jesus?
The Jesus in the book of Matthew is aware of what’s coming, but he is also pretty focused on the needs of the day. In other words, he wasn’t so focused on the future that he ignored what the hungry, the imprisoned, the marginalized needed of him at that moment.
So the exact day and hour? No one knows that. Luckily, we aren’t required to know everything—not even the time of Christ’s return.
What is asked of us is to pay attention.
What spaces in your heart or mind need to be cleared to make room for Christ this Advent?
Thank you Rethink Church for a great way to make preparing for Christmas more meaningful. Join me and thousands more in setting aside time to reflect, focus, and literally picture the deep themes of Jesus’ birth.
Click here for more information on Advent Photo-A-Day from Rethink Church.
Click here for a master list of links to my submissions. Lisa <><